PORTLAND, Maine — So far this year 450 veterans and their families have been served at Preble Street, according to executive director Mark Swann. Twenty-five of those veterans entered the shelter system across the state due to homelessness.
Preble Street, with the help of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, and Easterseals Maine are creating a system to help house veterans within 90 days of being identified as homeless. Support systems will also be in place for the vets and landlords.
"We are actually talking about just seven [veterans] in the whole state who are what we call chronically homeless," said Swann.
He believes a push to end veterans' homelessness in Maine is possible with participation from landlords and Preble Street has established a website to link interested property owners and to raise awareness.
The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness tracks communities across the country that have ended veterans' homelessness and chronic homelessness.
- 4 communities that have ended chronic and veteran homelessness
- 78 communities and 3 states have ended veteran homelessness
To be recognized certain federal criteria and benchmarks must be obtained. Preble Street says 20 landlords across the state could be enough to get Maine to this status. Maine is trying to become the 4th to end veteran homelessness.